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TBC Consoles: A Review of IntelliTrac


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In the endless quest for perfection combined with each production facility’s own unique situation, what needs tweaking at your studio will evolve. As my own skill-sets grow, my perception of what needs changing grows as well. I find my eye for issues has expanded beyond my broadcast engineering roots and spread into management and editorial concerns, as well.

Because we produce so many videos and my work is my passion, I require a comfortable zone of work for me (and our crew). I believe that a comfortable workplace where one can focus and be creative, as compared to a dull, inconvenient and uncomfortable place that makes you feel unwelcome, is the more productive work-space. After some hours of work in our old space, every moment of deliberation seemed like an eternity; I could feel my consciousness ebbing away. I needed a new and ergonomically functional look in my control room.

A tired room and a tired layout adds time to your work, certainly sapping creativity and drive. Getting buried in hum-drum routine dulls perception, making the problems harder to spot. We’ve found our issue – now let’s deal with it.

 

 

When is furniture more than just furniture? When it’s part of a larger issue. What better place to look for a solution to my situation than the NAB Show?!?! That being said good ideas have a tendency to echo, so any good solution will have a viable number of providers (or imitators if you want to get picky). I examined several potential solutions until I found the one I would use (cue the trumpets).

I went over to the TBC Consoles booth and their products were both fantastic and stunning. I knew that I just had to have a TBC Console and it felt like Love at First Sight, but first I thought to collect a bit of information and a few details about TBC. I found a comprehensive and very informative website and it begged me to explore. From dozens of finishes to the gallery of examples, I was quite impressed! I quickly found that hardware, for example, numerous robotic cameras, video switchers and more could be tapped into a focal spot where the console permitted you to run everything from a single position! These guys actually think about those things! Awesome!


Plan View

After examining several manufacturers, I settled on TBC Consoles as the company that would help me implement our solution. No doubt, with more production procedures being moved towards the software domain, it’s very easy not to remember how much of our production that takes place in the master control facilities where hardware is supreme. Makers of furniture are continually developing products that intensify our coactions with hardware, thereby improving both ergonomics and productivity. TBC, makers of IntelliTrac and SmartTrac studio console desks have actually made it possible for you to have whatever you need with regards to the perfect production desk right in front of you. With TBC’s IntelliTrac and SmartTrac consoles, you literally have your entire studio at your desk! In this review, you are going to learn why the IntelliTrac or SmartTrac consoles will become an amazing part of your workflow.


First up is the…

 

The IntelliTrac furniture features an exceptional off the floor design that allows for enough leg room while maximizing ventilation via the body of the console. Both front as well as rear device “Tracs” allow for limitless sideways positioning of crucial monitors. The turrets of the rack bay can easily be relocated which allows for fast, user-friendly modifications. There is also a complete range of integrating arms for good distance and height. Also, tilt control can be made use of, for backing flat panel monitors, phones, task lighting and speakers.

Here is what makes the IntelliTrac furniture so wonderful:

  • Stanchion-type base structure (T26) aluminum extrusion / steel combination provides high strength to weight ratio and custom depth configurations utilizing standard components
  • Front TRAC for LCD posts, countertop arms & accessories
  • C-top arms heavy gauge steel support 200lb load/pair
  • Front and rear rack rail adjustable setback tapped with 10-32 screw holes
  • Formed steel support foot with levelers
  • Cable collar adjusts to match floor cuts
  • Vented, removable bottom panels
  • Wire mesh cable tray supports wires evenly and allows easy dropouts
  • Power strip (optional) 3′ (16 outlet) -or- 6′ (20) outlet)
  • Rear TRAC for LCD arms
  • Removable rack turrets with vented metal lid
Section A

During the design phase, Andrew at TBC showed us this drawing which would demonstrate what our “position” would be while sitting at the desk. I never thought about this, but they certainly do! Pretty cool!

With IntelliTrac console, you get Trac-mounted; Task Light, Halogen, Task Light, LED, Phone platform, Monitor arm, Monitor arm, adjustable cable collar and bottom closure panel as well as 3′ / 16-outlet 15a power strip and 6′ / 20-outlet 15a power strip.

Paired with our IntelliTrac Console is the TracWall – a modular wall-mounted mount that, at broadcast Beat studios, holds all of our monitors behind the console!  (You can see a photo of me standing in front of the TracWall as we were putting it together – it’s the featured picture to this article!)  The TracWall framework is mounted to the wall, allowing the monitor brackets to be fastened to it; this allows total versatility in the selection of monitors to be used – especially in the ease of replacing a monitor when necessary (either because it is in need of repair or upgrade).


 

We personally don’t have a TBC SmartTrac console, but it’s certainly worth mentioning! This console incorporates the important components of the IntelliTrac system (which we have) in a very simple and economical console. The SmartTrac console delivers a full ergonomic console solution for any technology profound task. The TBC

SmartTrac console systems showcases rear device “Trac”, removable turrets and cable core which have an optional height adaptability for any application that needs a “sit-stand desk”. More so, each of the console can be made to specific personal preferences with a range of monitor arms, speaker mounts, CPU holders, task lamps as well as other needed accessories.

Why you need not think twice about installing the SmartTrac Console:

  • Monitor arm supports LCD monitors up to 35/lbs each
  • Optional caster base with 3″ casters, front two lock making this a mobile computer desk
  • Monitor Trac on the back of the top allows horizontal adjustment of your LCD monitors, speaker stands, etc.
  • Cable management includes a vented rear door below the counter-top, mounted on hinges for easy access to cables
  • Counter-top is 1.25″ thick heavy duty for strength. Worker side edge is ergonomic vinyl bumper to prevent injury. Counter-tops mount to the electric motors with threaded steel inserts for strength. Finishes listed below for your review
  • Legs and base are anodized aluminum finish for strength and good looks

 

Software makes it possible but TBC makes it convenient. TBC Consoles is all about customer satisfaction and ergonomic workflow. While designing our console, our Sales Engineer Andrew went over ALL the details. There were features I never dreamed would be options in a production console. Every question Andrew asked made me realize how experienced TBC really is. Even the packing material it arrived in was top notch, a solid packing job for our sturdily constructed top notch console.

PROS
Built-to-Order: No console is the same.
Beautiful.
Comes with a manual! You read that right! I received a manual specific to our console and it was personalized!
Durable and built to last.
Excellent website to help during the design process.
Friendly staff that isn’t afraid to talk about additional changes.
Finishes, finishes and more finishes. Gorgeous!
Modular: Everything is interchangeable during design or after the console is finished.
Quick assembly – Believe it or not, our massive console was put together by two people in under four hours.
Superior craftsmanship. Absolute perfection.
Technical drawings’ during the design phase. This isn’t an IKEA desk! 🙂

CONS
Every time I try to think of what one of the cons would be, I just think of another Pro! Oh wait, there’s another one! 🙂

 

 

 

Hands down, TBC was a great company to work with and everything from the design process, to picking finishes went so smooth. We ended u with a TBC IntelliTrac (the console) and the TBC TracWall (which holds all of our displays against our wall). If you’re looking for a top-notch linear-editing console, control room console or any studio furniture in that matter – TBC Consoles is the way to go. Their attention to detail is certainly unparalleled and I was absolutely blown away by their staff.


 

Founded in 1988, TBC began with a specialty in broadcast and video production consoles including command centers and process control rooms.  They continue that commitment today with expertise in height-adjustable desks, technical furniture, control rooms, edit consoles, graphics consoles, broadcast furniture, and more.  They have also expanded their expertise to include security and network operations, transportation, power utilities, dispatch, healthcare, and other applications of our products.  They also supply a wide variety of monitor arms and other accessories. Their focus is building consoles, from single operator desks to sophisticated control rooms; they provide the products and the expertise to create ergonomically correct and organized workspaces that lead to greater efficiency, productivity and personal performance. TBC has a deep commitment to customer satisfaction and innovation. Their staff includes highly experienced designers, engineers, project managers, CNC operators, craftsman, laminators, and metal workers all geared toward producing The Best Consoles and quality technical furniture to meet their customer’s needs.  Their company headquarters in Long Island, New York includes over 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Explore the possibilities of the optimal interface between people and technology by visiting their website: www.tbcconsoles.com/Default.aspx

Take a peek at my other story showing the full process of putting the console together! Click Here.


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Ryan Salazar

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher at Broadcast Beat Magazine, LLC.
Ryan started working in the broadcast and post production industry at the young age of twelve! He has produced television programs, built large post production facilities, written for some of the industry's leading publications and was an audio engineer for about ten years. Ryan previously wrote for Broadcast Engineering Magazine, Creative COW and his projects have been featured in dozens of publications.
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